Chapter 1: Research
Fowl was sat on the floor of the study, a wooden block held in one
hand. 'Really, Butler, is this necessary?' he asked, handing his
little brother the block. 'I am worried about their development. By
the time I was their age I could at least spell "monumentally".
It appears they can only manage simple words like "motion" and
"station", yet I have been informed that they are learning these
words at nursery, which suggests they are not getting much education
outside of school. Perhaps I should give them extra tuition.'
Butler sighed. Weren't big brothers supposed to teach their siblings how to play football, or how to tie their shoes?
'Don't worry about the twins,' he said, 'Angeline and Juliet will look after them. You should be more worried about your own education.'
'How many times must I tell people that I have no intention of returning to school? I am three years too young; although I have no doubt that I have already surpassed the students who used to be in my class. I see no point in me going to school when I learn better outside, and the sooner Principal Guiney realises that the better-' he stopped as the door opened.
Fowl stepped into the room, carrying Myles who was chewing a
chocolate bar. She smiled at Artemis and sat down, in between him and
Beckett. She put Myles on the floor next to her, and, as siblings are wont to do, he immediately
picked up the blocks and smashed down the tower Beckett had been
Artemis glanced at his mother, 'I told you that chocolate can make them hyper,' he said, 'It is not good for developing children, especially if you want them to get a good night's sleep.'
Angeline picked up one of the blocks, smiling, 'I remember trying to feed you chocolate from time to time when you were a baby. You would only ever eat the 70 percent cocoa stuff that your father hated. Sometimes I think this family is too deprived of sweets and chocolate. Everyone's supposed to love it. I feel like the only one in the family who wouldn't mind having a something sweet now and again.'
'So now we know where Myles gets it from,' Artemis said, standing up to take an Apple Mac laptop from the table. He sat back down again and opened the lid. 'Really, Mother, you spoil them.'
Angeline sighed. 'They let me spoil them, that's why. Aren't children supposed to always be asking for sweets and food and toys? You never did any of that when you were a baby. You just wanted calculators and microscopes.'
Artemis opened the Internet browser and checked his e-mail. Although only very select people had his e-mail address, Artemis checked it regularly. Holly or Foaly sometimes sent him e-mails about the daily happenings of Haven City. There was one such e-mail in his inbox at the moment. He clicked it open.
How's it going with the terrible twosome? I can imagine you practically ripping your hair out in frustration.
I've joined the LEP again, now that Trouble Kelp is Commander. He was the one who saved us from Sool when we stopped Opal Koboi's plan, if you remember.
How is everything going with Minerva?
I'll phone you soon, so keep the communicator on.
smiled. Holly was once again back with the LEP and all seemed well
down in Haven. He wondered what she meant by "How is everything
going with Minerva?"
He decided to write a reply later, when he had more time to think about how to respond. He had not phoned Minerva for several days. She was on a skiing holiday, apparently.
'Is that an e-mail from Minerva?' Angeline said, watching Artemis' face, 'It's about time you asked her out on a date.'
Artemis looked up. 'A date?' he said, 'I- Perhaps in a few weeks. I made a breakthrough with some of my research, and it cannot wait.'
'Can't you take a break from your research just for one night?' Angeline said, watching Beckett spell "monumentally" with the blocks.
'No. It is vitally important I continue. I cannot take a break.' Artemis snapped the laptop shut, avoiding his mother's gaze. The research was important.
'Not even for one night,' he said.
Artemis clicked from webpage to webpage, searching for something, or more accurately, someone. His deep blue eyes scanned the screen in front of him, looking out for any sign of information. He had learnt long ago that most of the things you read on the Internet were hoaxes and rumours, dreamt up by eager enthusiasts with over-excited imaginations, but this was different. He knew the feeling. There was a tingle in his spine; a ceaseless thought in his mind that maybe – just maybe – it was true. There were little telltale signs: freak hurricanes, unseasonable mist, gruesome murders and strange disappearances…
The Earl Grey in the teacup beside him had finally reached the level of coldness where a white skin had formed on top, creased by faint ripples. He glanced at it for a moment, wondering whether to get up and take it downstairs. He checked his watch. It was three am.
Artemis rubbed the sleep from his eyes and was about to shut down the computer when something caught his eye. He clicked the URL, and his heart sped up. Breath caught in his chest and his eyes widened.
'Amelia Bones,' he whispered, the monitor's light casting gloomy blue shadows against the walls. Anyone watching would have seen the boy tap the screen with a thin, pale finger. They would have heard the hard drive's whirr and the faint sound of the teacup tinkle. But if they were watching really, really closely they would have seen the glint in the blue eyes as the computer shut down. The light faded, and a smile appeared on Artemis Fowl's face.